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Church festivals in the Land of Hutsulshchyna



In the Land of Hutsulshchyna, every town has its own khramove svyato (or khram) which can be loosely translated as patronal festival or feast. The thing is it is not only a particular saint in whose honour the feast is held but an ecclesiastical or Biblical event that gives the festival its name. The construction of a church dedicated to such a saint or an event gives rise to the feast. In the town of Roztoky, for example, a church built in the early twentieth century, was dedicated to the Archangel Michael and the day of the churchs consecration became the khram, the patronal festival of the town. In the village of Mykytyntsi, the local church was dedicated to the Erection of the Holy Cross, and the day the church was consecrated became in the villages khram a feast. To celebrate the khram in Kosovo, the Day of the Birth of John the Baptist, people come from the neighbouring and outlying villages.

The Patronal Festival begins with a religious service in the local church, after which the locals invite each other and strangers who have come from elsewhere to the service to celebrate the khram feast at their homes. Everybody tries to invite as many guests as possible, and the invitations may become so insistent that potential guests are actually pulled this or that way by the eager hosts. There is even a saying in Hutsulshchyna, Their invitations were so hearty, the sleeves of my coat got ripped off.

If the celebrations of khram fall on fast days, there is no singing or dancing, and the dishes served are prepared in strict accordance with the requirements of Lent or other fasting days. But if khram is celebrated on non-fasting days, then the tables sag under the weight of all kinds of meat and other dishes, and there is a lot of dancing and singing going on to the most cheerful music played by the local musicians. Hutsuls dance with complete abandon, they get as wild as the mountain rivers and free as the wind high up in the mountains.

Oleksandr Oles, a poet, described a khram celebration in his letter to his wife written in 1912: Today Ive lived through an experience which was like a dream. People came to celebrate the khram feast from many places, even from the places high up in the mountains. The blind and cripples raised a loud lament and then joined in the singing; the musicians struck up vigorous tunes, the din was so great that the roar of the Cheremosh River was drowned in it. Hutsul women put on their best clothes and looked very proud they could show off. Impressive Hutsul men, all in eagle or ostrich feathers and plumes, courted and wooed the girls. I stood and watched these wonderful people who have known no serfdom, who have preserved their souls free, their language intact and their traditions alive, so beautiful and meaningful.


Though almost a hundred years have passed since that time the letter was written, this description can be applied to the Hutsuls of today.

Taking part in the khram celebrations is an experience that will stay in your memory for a long time.


By Mariya VLAD



Khram Celebrations

in the Land of Kosivshchyna, Hutsulshchyna


MonthDateVillage or townFestival
January8ProkuravaFeast of the Virgin Mary
9HorodSt Stefan The Martyr
14Kosiv, Richka, Rozhniv, SlobidkaSt Basil The Great;
New Year's, Old Style
April7Verbovets, PistynAnnunciation
May6CherhanivkaSt Yury (George)
The Victor
June9Babyn, Brustury, Velyky Bereziv, Korosty, Lyucha, RybneAscension
19Sokolivka, Tekucha,Shepit, KosmachDescent of the Holy Spirit
20Kuty, YavorivThe Holy Trinity
July 7Kosiv, Maly RozhynBirth of John The Baptist
12Banya-Bereziv, Kosmach, SnidavkaSt Peter and Paul
15SheshoryFeast of the Vestments of the Holy Virgin
28KutySt Volodymyr The Great
August2Prokurava, TyudivElijah The Prophet
19Stari Kuty, RozhnivTransfiguration
28Kryvobrody, Pistyn, Seredniy Bereziv, Slobidka, Stary KosivAssumption
September 21Rozhniv, Trach, Tyudiv, Cherhanivka, Shepit, YavorivBirth of the Holy Virgin
October 6CherhanivkaConception of John The Baptist
14Stari Kuty, Tekucha, Khimchyn, TsutsulynPokrov (Veil)of the Holy Virgin
27StopchativSt Paraskeva The Martyr
November 8Akreshory, Velyky Rozhyn, Horod, RybneSt Dmitry The Martyr
10SheshorySt Paraskeva The Martyr
14Lyucha, RoztokySS Kosma and Demian
21Babyn, Lyuchky, Mykytyntsi, Rozhniv, Roztoky, UtoropyArchangel Michael
December4Kobaky, Tyudiv, Sokolivka, YablunivPresentationof the Holy Virgin
19Kobaky, Nyzhniy Bereziv, StopchativSt Mykola (Nicholas)
The Miracle Worker


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